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Relocation Relocation April 5, 2014

Posted by Oireachtas Retort in Housing.
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I had to raise an eyebrow at this remark from Olivia Mitchell in the Dáil last week

We blamed everyone for the housing bubble but the State piggybacked on it. We must be careful not to do that again. Much as we might like to get something from builders, when we rezone land, we must be careful to ensure it does not negatively impact on people trying to buy houses.

Who the Mahon Report found

While the evidence would suggest Cllr Mitchell did not solicit the contribution, she nonetheless accepted it in the knowledge of Mr Dunlop’s close association with the project

But that wasn’t the best part. Social Housing was the topic and in this case the increasing shortage of any sort in the capital

In other parts of the country there is no shortage of housing and rents are far more affordable. In that context, it may be time to consider some kind of resettlement programme, even on a temporary basis, until we get to grips with the housing shortage in Dublin. I know that eventually it will dawn on people that if they want housing, they will have to get out of Dublin and there will be a drift to the cities and towns outside Dublin. I also know that resettlement is not for everyone and that family ties and so forth connect people to where they were born, but for those who want it, it can provide not only a housing solution but also access to schools and other facilities because the demand for these is not as great as it is in Dublin.

I do not think the drift out of Dublin should be left to market forces, however. It is time for the Government to get actively involved in a planned programme of resettlement, helping families to relocate. If it is left to people to decide themselves to go, we will get a scatter gun type relocation throughout the country which, from a planning perspective, is not a good idea. It would be better to direct people who elect to move out of Dublin to the gateways and hub towns identified in the national spatial strategy. Although the latter has fallen into disuse, it is better than nothing in terms of relocating people out of Dublin. In such towns, of course, there is a better chance of getting employment. I am not suggesting that relocation is the solution to the entire housing problem, but for those who express an interest, it is worth pursuing. I know there is a voluntary organisation called Rural Resettlement Ireland, but I think it should be something that is much more structured than that.

At the moment, not only are we not helping people to relocate or suggesting they consider it, we are actually putting barriers in their way. For instance, if one is on the housing list in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, one cannot go to Bray and get housing assistance because one is not on the housing list there. I do not think the legislation requires that but that is how the scheme is being implemented. That should be dealt with by letting local authorities know they should be as flexible as possible. It is ridiculous that people who are on a housing list and for whom a housing need has been established cannot go and rent a house in an area that is cheaper and get a lesser subsidy. As I said, relocation is not for everyone but it is a possibility for some.

Relocation could indeed be a option for some but banishment of social housing tenets from Dublin has more than a whiff of social cleansing doesn’t it.

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